Dar es Salaam — The Minister of Energy and Minerals Prof. Sospeter Muhongo, has directed the Tanzania Geothermal Development Company (TGDC) that by June 2016, it must begin drilling three holes in the area of Lake Ngozi.
This is the first step before building plants to produce geothermal power.
"We cannot continue waiting due to the elevated shortage of power the country experiences while Tanzania is among countries whereby the Rift Valley coverers huge area compared to other countries within a region," he said.
Geothermal electricity is electricity generated by geothermal energy. Technologies in use include dry steam power stations, flash steam power stations and binary cycle power stations. Geothermal electricity generation is currently used in 24 countries, while geothermal heating is in use in 70 countries.
The Minister explained that according to a research conducted in the field, it proved that the water temperature is immense, between 230 and 250 Centigrade enough for electricity generation, hence could be a new and important new source of renewable electricity.
Prof. Muhongo advised the company to continue with a significant development of research in an area which has had similar indicators of the existence of geothermal within Lake Ngozi and other areas with similar indicators, including Mbaka area in Rungwe district.
He said already three foreign companies including Symbion Tanzania have already shown interest to invest in geothermal in collaboration with Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC).
"We invite other potential investors to chip-in and invest in this area which has proved to produce reliable and sustainable power," he said.
He said neighbouring countries in Kenya and Ethiopia have made great strides in developing geothermal energy. "But in our case we do not have even one megawatt from this source, which is unacceptable to our citizens," he said.
Professor Muhongo said many countries do not depend on government funds to implement large-scale energy projects and that is why Tanzania is seeking funds in various institutions including inviting investors to implement the projects.
"The government will help to facilitate TGDC to access fund for implementation for this project and the remaining job is to make sure work is to begin to generate geothermal electricity in Tanzania starting with Lake Ngozi project," the Minister said.
Last year when presenting the paper at the 5th African Rift Geothermal Conference (ARGeo-C5) in Arusha the General Manager of the Tanzania Geothermal Development Company (TGDC) Boniface Njombe said Tanzania has identified 50 potential areas across the country from where 5,000MW of geothermal power can be produced.
He said such areas need to be explored through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to enable the country produce 200MW from geothermal by 2020. "As government, we want to effectively utilize all potential sources of power available in the country and geo-thermal is one of them," he said.
"Tanzania has the longest rift valley stretch in Eastern Africa, and has identified 50 sites with a geothermal potential of 5,000MW," he said.
He said such sites are being grouped into three main prospective zones including, the Northern Zone, comprising Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Mara regions; the Southern Zone with Rukwa and Mbeya regions, and the Eastern coastal belt which is associated with rifting and magmatic intrusion in the Rufiji Valley Basin.
In addition, he mentioned that, apart from generating electricity, hot water can be used for industrial use, domestic drying of crops and as cure for skin diseases.
TGDC was incorporated on 19th December, 2013 as 100% state-owned company with the mandate of spearheading geothermal resources development in the country.